THE BEST OF JODY’S BOX: THE LIFE CYCLE OF STUMPY PHALANGE

By Jody Weisel

I’ve known Stumpy Phalange my whole life, but only because he was the brother of my racing buddy Fred Phalange. Stumpy was a couple years younger than Fred and it goes without saying that he was also a couple inches shorter. In truth, I don’t know Stumpy’s given name—everyone has always called him Stumpy. Even as a kid he always hung on the periphery. He loved motocross, but he wasn’t very fast, mechanical or personable. If he hadn’t been Fred’s younger brother I don’t think I would have ever noticed him.

But over the years, the life of Stumpy became an intriguing soap opera that I followed religiously and sarcastically.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange back when we were 125 Novices. “Did you hear that my dad is going to buy my little brother Stumpy a minicycle so he can start racing.”

“Good maybe that will keep him from sitting on top of the ice chest every time I want to get something out of it,” I replied.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Did you hear that my brother earned his Eagle Scout badge and my dad gave him a new RM125 as a present.”

“I didn’t think that your brother could reach the ground on a 125—he’s not called Stumpy for nothing,” I said.
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“Hey, Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Did you hear that my dad told my brother Stumpy that now that he has graduated from high school that he was going to have to buy his own bikes and parts.”

“Well, that’s the last we’ll see of your brother at the races,” I said.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Did you hear that my brother Stumpy is going off to college and needs to sell his CR250. Do you know anyone who wants to buy it?”

“Is that the one with the cut-down seat, raised footpegs and low handlebars?” I asked.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Did you hear that my brother Stumpy got a good job straight out of school and wants to get back into racing. What should he buy?”

“Did he grow any while he was away at Boston College? Because while he was gone bikes have gotten a lot taller,” I said.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Did you hear that my brother Stumpy got engaged to his girlfriend Cynthia?”

“Is that the girl who has been sitting on my ice chest every time I want to get something out if?” I asked.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Did you hear the news! My brother Stumpy’s wife is gonna have a baby.”

“Well, that’s the last we’ll see of your brother at the races,” I said.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “My brother Stumpy is getting a divorce and wants to start racing again?

“Tell him to stay off of my ice chest this time,” I said.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “I just got back from the hospital and the doctors say that Stumpy will be fine once his two broken legs heal.”

“Well, that’s the last we’ll see of your brother at the races,” I said.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Stumpy wants to know if he can go to Mammoth with us? He says that he’ll drive and pay for the gas.”

“Can he reach the pedals?” I asked.
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“Hey Jody,” said Fred Phalange. “Stumpy was diagnosed with cancer yesterday and he asked me to tell you personally because he said you were his best friend.”

“Well, I pray that this is not the last time we’ll see of your brother at the races,” I said.

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